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DENVER --Thousands of people marched through the streets of downtown Denver on Wednesday, including some Boulder residents who said they wanted to send a message to the delegates attending the Democratic National Convention.
The massive crowd of at least 3,000 people began walking following a free concert at the Denver Coliseum in the early afternoon.
The main act, alternative musical group Rage Against the Machine, encouraged attendees to march to the Pepsi Center in protest of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Hundreds of people, and then thousands of them, made the nearly four-mile hike across the city in the afternoon heat.
Escorted by a human shield of police officers from agencies across the state, the group carried signs and sang songs until reaching its destination outside the DNC.
Just as delegates and members of the press were gathering for the evening's main attraction inside the convention -- former President Bill Clinton -- the crowd arrived at the so-called "free speech zone" to
the west of the main hall and behind a series of cement barriers and chain-link fences.
Horse-mounted police and hundreds of officers standing in full riot gear, with batons at the ready, looked on, took some verbal abuse in stride and allowed the non-permitted event to take its course.
To Boulder resident Carolyn Bninski, it was just another day to get out a message about peace.
"We're here to send a clear and loud message to the Democratic Party," said Bninski, a member of the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center in Boulder.
Bninski said she and several other Boulder residents came to let the gathered political
leaders know they won't stand for a party that continues to fund the war in Iraq.
"Funding the war is killing the troops," she said.
The crowd was led through the streets by members of Rage Against the Machine and other bands, and by a group of military veterans dressed in formal uniforms.
Also among the protesters Wednesday was Jill Adams, a 26-year-old junior at the University of Colorado.
Adams, a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, said the Democrats will eventually listen to messages like the one she brought to Denver: that there is a "huge amount of people against the war."
"They have to" listen, she said. "There is strength in numbers."
Numbers, there were.
When the wave of people reached the Pepsi Center about 5:45 p.m., so many people squeezed their way into the police barriers that most of them didn't get within earshot of most delegates outside the building.
But that didn't matter to most of them, and designated leaders among the crowd wearing bright green vests led chants such as, "No more torture, no more war, this is what we're fighting for."
Others held hand-painted signs, and still others shouted in the faces of police officers.
"Fascists!" one man wearing a mask on his face screamed at an officer.
The mass of people was mostly gone within 30 minutes of arriving at the Pepsi Center.
Police, it seemed, were accommodating to the crowd, which didn't have a permit to march through the city.
A police ATV with a brightly lit sign led the way down Larimer Street to the Pepsi Center. The sign flashed a simple message to the thousands following behind, "Follow us. Welcome to Denver."
As of 6 p.m. Wednesday, the Denver Police Department reported six arrests related to the Democratic National Convention. None of those arrested is from Boulder, Denver police reported.
The total number of DNC-related arrests from Saturday to Wednesday stood at 141.